Monthly Archives: February 2013

Make a Design Board

How to Make a Design Board

I typically lay out my quilt blocks and fabrics on the carpet in order to test out designs. But this method only seems to attract cats or general foot traffic until my blocks are so tossed about that I can’t remember what I was doing in the first place. Do you have this problem?

Enter, the design board! Also called a design wall, a design board is a helpful tool for quilters that works much like a felt or flannelgraph board. Cut fabric squares or quilt blocks will temporarily “stick” to it while you figure out an arrangement you like. The lightweight board can be nailed to a wall or you can slide it under the bed when you’re ready to take a break from your design.

Design Board

Here are two 4′ x 8′ design boards, which create a great workspace when placed side by side. When I’m working on a smaller quilt, I can opt to just use one of the boards. Also, each board easily comes off the wall if I need to move it to another room and work!

To make your own quilting design board, you’ll need:

– 1 Sheet foam insulation 4′ x 8′ (and about 1″ thick), from hardware store
– Packing tape or duct tape
– Box cutter
– Iron
– 4 clothespins or binder clips
– Nail and hammer (if mounting to wall)
– Queen-size batting or two batting scraps at least 54″ x 54″
(I used Warm & Natural, but any type of cotton, white batting would work)
– Staple gun (optional)

In order to get my foam insulation board home in the car, I cut it into 4 quadrants (one cut down the vertical center, and another cut down the horizontal center). This way, it easily fit in the back seat of my compact car! I knew I’d be taping it when I got home, so this was no big deal to me. You may choose to keep your board all in one piece if you can transport it home.

Tip: If you often work on large quilts, you might want to purchase two boards for an 8-foot x 8-foot workspace. Just make sure you have the available wall space for it!

If you cut your board, tape the sections back together with clear packing tape.

Here is what the board looks like all taped together. I decided this was bigger than I wanted to wrangle, so I untaped the vertical center and left it in two halves.

Next, cut a piece of quilt batting 3″ longer than the board on each side. Mine was 54″ x 54″.

Press your batting to make a smooth surface. You can iron right on top of your board.

Once your batting is smoothed out, stand your board upright and use clothespins to secure the batting tight onto one side of the board. Tape the edge of the batting to the board, one side at a time. Flip your board and pin the opposite side, pulling the batting taut. If you have a staple gun, you can use that to secure the batting. Duct tape would also work in a pinch.

Here is what the back of your design board should look like.

To hang your design board on the wall, use the point of your scissors to poke a hole into the back side of the foam board directly in the center and about 4″ down from the top. Hammer a nail into the wall and place the hole into the nail.  You could also attach your board to the wall with sticky mounting tape or adhesive velcro (if you want to be able to take it off and put it back on easily).

Place quilt blocks or fabric swatches on your design wall and arrange as desired. Your quilter’s design board is complete!

As always, if you are inspired to make this project or use any of our tutorials, we’d love to see them in the Craft Buds Flickr group!

Craft Room Organization Tips for Small Spaces

Sewing Room

I recently moved from a larger home to a smaller space, so I had a challenge in front of me when it came to organizing my craft/sewing area. I thought I’d share some tips in case you are dealing with a craft space that also serves another purpose (bedroom, guest room, office or nursery).

I was very overwhelmed at first with all of the miscellaneous boxes of craft supplies. Those of you who have moved can probably relate! In my new home, the closet I’m using for craft storage doubles as a coat and shoe closet, and the bedroom doubles as a guest bedroom and office, so I definitely had a challenge when it came to organizing. But I am here to tell you, it can be done!

Craft Room Organization Tip #1: Utilize Vertical Space

Sewing Room

For items that you do not need easy access to, store them as high as possible to use all of your vertical space. As you can see here, I stored several packages of quilt batting and some scrapbook albums on the top shelf of my closet until they touch the ceiling.

Sewing Room

If your closet doesn’t have shelving above the hanging racks, see if you can add some in. They are great for storing boxes of supplies or handmade items that you don’t need to have in easy reach.

Craft Room Organization Tip #2: Use Hanging Storage

Sewing Room

The back of a door is a great space to use a hanging shoe rack for shoes (if you need it), but also small sewing or craft notions like replacement rotary blades or sewing needles.

Sewing Room

I happen to keep all of my interfacing in this bag. Since my cats like to lick the adhesive side, I now hang the bag on a sturdy plastic hanger in the close so it doesn’t take up precious floor or desk space. And also, the cats don’t mess with it here!

Craft Room Organization Tip #3: Finding the Right Desk(s)

Sewing Room

My husband decided he didn’t want to use his office desk anymore, so I inherited it as a nice cutting table (left). I also have an L-shaped desk that is great for my sewing machine and thread collection. I can easily swivel my chair from one side of the desk to the other, so it’s great for multitasking.

When you choose a chair and desk for your craft room, think about the things you will be doing the most and try to find a workspace to accommodate your biggest needs, whether that’s storage, surface area or both.

Craft Room Organization Tip #4: Put It Away

Sewing Room

I know this will make me sound crazy, but I am a quilter who doesn’t own an ironing board. I mostly just use this portable ironing station, made from an ottoman cushion that I recovered. It’s easy to pull out of the closet along with my iron when I need it. You can toss it right on top of your cutting station or use it on the floor, and it takes up much less space than an ironing board!

Sewing Room

Since I don’t have a large cabinet for fabric storage, I opted for these plastic tubs that I can easily slide in or out of the closet. My fat quarters and large scraps are all on the top layer, and smaller scraps are separated by color in the bottoms of the tubs. It’s really helpful to be able to put them away when we need to use the room as a guest bedroom.

Sewing Room

Our linen closet was originally filled with towels and sheets, but then I realized I could clear up a few shelves by rolling the towels and storing them in the door. (Again, gotta love back-of-door storage solutions!) I stored my large cuts of fabric, scrapbooking and jewelry making supplies in the linen closet, which is just around the corner from the craft room.

Sewing Room

Plastic storage drawers are a great bang for your buck for storing fabric, yarn or other craft supplies. The bins with wheels on the bottom are great for creating a portable workstation, if you like to work out of more than one room. Also, look for under-bed storage boxes if you can use them.

Sewing Room

You can also raid your garage or tool closet for storage solutions, like this great aluminum basket I picked up at a garage sale for 50 cents.

Craft Room Organization Tip #5: Cover It Up

Sewing Room

I covered our computer printer with this handmade cover, so it’s less obvious that this room doubles as an office. If your craft room is a multi-purpose room or office, consider covering larger items (like a computer monitor) and storing smaller items (like pens and paper clips) in storage bins.

Sewing Room

Here’s my sewing machine cover, which I received in a swap and absolutely love! It’s amazing how covering up your machine can made a room look much more “pulled together.”

Sewing Room

Finally, consider adding a curtain under a desk to hide away miscellaneous craft supplies. Use a tension rod and add some fabric to make a hiding place for your works in progress! This is my plan for the bottom of my cutting table.

Do you have any craft room organization tips? Do you work out of a dedicated craft room or share a space with others in your home?

“In Good Hands” Printable Teacher/Caregiver Valentine


Are you ready for Valentine’s Day tomorrow? I wanted to have a cute little non-candy item for my son’s teachers so I designed this “I’m in good hands with you!” printable. Just print, cut, mount on cardstock, punch a hole in the upper left, and tie it to hand sanitizer or lotion. I used mini bottles of scented hand sanitizer from Bath and Body Works in the image above.

You can get the free printable here. It’s a PDF you can print or download from Google Docs with 12 tags per sheet. Just click the link and go to “File” in the upper left corner once the page loads. Then choose Print, or if you want to save it choose Download PDF. If you’re already set this year, save or pin this idea for next Valentine’s or just as a teacher appreciation gift!

Sweet Heart Mini Quilt

For Valentine’s Day I designed this little heart mini quilt. Size it up or down for a wall hanging, pillow cover, baby quilt or whatever you feel like!  To make a 20″ square finished quilt like the one above, you’ll need:

  • 10 3.5″ squares in various shades of reds and pinks (or non-traditional Valentine’s Day colors, whatever you feel like!)
  • 26 3.5″ squares for the background
  • 2 border strips 2.5″ wide x 18″ long
  • 2 border strips 2.5″ wide x 20″ long
  • 22″ square fabric for the back
  • 22″ square quilt batting for the middle
  • 90″ binding

My finished quilt is about 20″ square and all of my seam allowances are 1/4″. This is my first quilt, so in the instructions I’m including some things I learned along the way that experienced quilters will already know, but any other newbies out there might appreciate knowing!

First cut all of your squares on the diagonal so you’ll now have 20 triangles for the heart and 52 triangles for the background. I cut all of my triangles and 2.5″ strips using my Accuquilt Go! Baby with the 3″ Finished Triangle Die and 2.5″ Strip Cutter. With that, the cutting only takes about 10 minutes since it does multiple layers at a time!

Note: If you want to speed up this block, you can cut 22 3″ background squares and 4 3.5″ background squares. Cut only the 3.5″ squares in half into 8 triangles. Once it’s quilted, the background squares will blend together, so go with what is easier for you.

Play with arranging them until you’re happy with the look. Below you’ll see my layout and I also drew up a diagram to make it easier to see the angles.

Next, I chain pieced all of my triangles together to make squares. To chain piece, don’t cut your thread after sewing together each set of triangles. Just have the next set ready to go and keep feeding them through your machine until you have a long line. Then cut the thread in between each set and you’ll have saved both time and thread!

Also, to help with time and accuracy I used my 1/4″ seam allowance foot. It has a guide on the edge that the fabric runs along so every seam is exactly 1/4″.

After all of your triangles are sewn into 3″ squares, open them up and iron them flat. You’ll have something that looks like this. Last chance to make any final rearrangements!

Next, sew together each horizontal row of squares. Again, iron the seams flat (which I hadn’t done yet in this photo).

Then sew the horizontal rows together. Again, press the seams. If you don’t end up with a perfect square, trim the sides to square it up. Next, sew your shorter 2.5″ border strips to the left and right sides. Trim off any excess length. Then sew the longer 2.5″ strips to the top and bottom. Again, trim off any excess length.

Sandwich together your backing fabric, the quilt batting and the quilt top. Now you’re ready to quilt as desired! I went with straight lines inside the heart and around the border, with a free motion design in the background (the white/natural colored fabric area). To help with accuracy on the straight lines I used a border guide foot. Using that made it super easy to keep my lines perfectly spaced!

After the straight lines were done I planned out my free motion quilting. I made a template on the computer to sketch out different design ideas. Here are two of my ideas and I ended up using the one of the left. With this being my first free motion quilting attempt, the little loopy hearts on the right looked a little too daunting!

I cut out some heart and teardrop shapes and used a washable fabric marker to trace out my free motion design before stitching.

Here you can see the quilting on the back of the finished quilt! After the quilting is done, trim the edges and add the binding. I used the Cluck Cluck Sew Machine Binding Tutorial for mine.

And again, here’s the final product. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Creativebug Q&A with Heather Jones

Did you see yesterday’s fun Q&A with Jeanne Lewis, CEO and founder of Creativebug?

Today, we thought it would be fun to go behind the scenes with modern quilter Heather Jones, blogger behind Olive & Ollie and one of the newest instructors for Creativebug‘s video workshops!

1) Heather, can you tell us a little bit about your new class on Creativebug? What can we make?

I’m so excited to be helping Creativebug kick off their quilting classes. I’m filmed four workshops; three are complete quilt designs that I show you how to make from start to finish and the final one is on precut fabrics. All three of my quilt projects are strip pieced designs and suitable for all quilters, and even those who may be new to the craft. I’m particularly excited about my Diamonds in the Sky quilt. It’s one of my favorites pieces I’ve made to date!

2) Rewind to your flight out to San Francisco, to film part A of the classes. What was going through your mind that day?

It was a whirlwind, to tell you the truth! I had just returned from teaching at QuiltCamp in Michigan the day before and then I was off to San Francisco. I was also quite nervous. It’s kind of intimidating to be in front of the camera, but everyone at Creativebug was really amazing and made me feel right at home. I would love to go back some time!

Photo: Heather Jones / Olive & Ollie

3) Can you tell us some of the highlights and challenges of filming your classes?

It was really interesting to me to see how they work, and specifically how much thought goes into how everything is filmed. I had watched a few of their workshops before, as well as their instructor bio videos, and I was struck at how beautifully they were filmed. They are incredibly gorgeous, and the workshops are top notch, too. I have done some other filming in the past, but this was so different than anything I had done before. I was working with filmmakers who had very specific ideas about how my workshops should look. And I know they will be gorgeous!

I think the most challenging part was talking to the camera all of the time, because frankly it’s pretty unnatural! It was also challenging because there was a lot of starting and stopping during each shoot, and it was tough sometimes to remember where I was. Thank goodness for Courtney, my coach, who kept me on track!

Heather Jones Olive and Ollie set at Creativebug Photo: Heather Jones / Olive & Ollie

4) Creativebug also came to your hometown to film some segments in your home environment. Can you tell us a little about that video shoot?

Yes, I met with a local filmmaker a little over a week ago, and I think we got some really nice footage. We are actually in the process of moving, so most of my studio is packed up, but a dear friend of mine let me borrow her home for some interior shots. We also spent some time at a local farm where my father boards his horse; I’ve been really inspired lately by that location, and specifically some of the outbuildings on the property, so it was great to spend some time there with my quilts. The footage that we shot was sent to the folks at Creativebug and they’ll work their magic on it.

5) Heather, what’s next for you?

Next up is QuiltCon. I’m giving a lecture on how I draw inspiration from everyday objects and places, and how I translate that inspiration into my quilt designs. I’m also doing a demo there in Creativebug’s booth on strip piecing in modern quilting. Then in April I’ll be teaching at Quilt Festival in Cincinnati, and then it’s off to Boulder, CO to teach at the Makerie Sewing Retreat. It’s going to be a busy year!

Photo: Heather Jones / Olive & Ollie

Coupon Code!

If you are itching to try Creativebug for yourself, you can join today for $10 off with the discount code CRAFTBUDS. Isn’t that fun?!

The unlimited membership includes access to all Creativebug workshops for as low as $16.99 per month, and single workshops can be purchased a la carte. There are also lots of free mini workshops you can enjoy if you’re not quite ready to start your membership yet.

Creativebug: Chat with Jeanne Lewis, a Creative CEO

Jeanne Lewis  of Creativebug I am so excited to share this inspiring interview with Jeanne Lewis, CEO and founder of Creativebug. If you’ve ever stepped out and taken a leap of faith to follow your creative passion, you’ll instantly recognize that it takes determination, and many 80-hour work weeks, to see your dream come to fruition.

Creativebug is a website where you can sign up to watch instructional craft videos in sewing, yarn crafts, quilting, jewelry making, paper crafting and more. In a sense, it’s like Netflix for crafters. For one low monthly fee, you have unlimited access to all the craft videos you can watch. I was really excited when I heard about Creativebug and their wide array of sewing instructors including Heather Ross, Anna Maria Horner, Gretchen Hirsch, Natalie Chanin and Liesl Gibson. The list of classes I want to take just goes on and on!


Jeanne, how did you come up with the concept for Creativebug?

I spent several years working as an art director for Time and Fortune magazines. I live in San Francisco now, but when I lived and worked in New York, I would go to a pottery studio some nights just to shake off the stress of the day. I spent time doing pottery in college and loved throwing bowls on the wheel and shaping the clay. I was searching for a way to get back to doing things with my hands since I spent so much time working on my computer. Back then, I wasn’t experienced in knitting or sewing, so pottery was the perfect outlet for that.

I had the initial inspiration for Creativebug in April 2011. I went to New Orleans to visit family and friends and on that trip, I was riding bikes with an old friend who is a very talented artist. She was telling me about her mom and how she had spent up to $160 on an online art class, to learn a specific technique – and it was only available for 3 weeks. I thought, wow, I would like to take classes online but I would never be able to be available for 3 weeks straight. If I could access a class when it fit within my schedule (3am even) and at what I considered an affordable price, since I wasn’t fully passionate about one art discipline, then I might try it. I had subscribed to a site in the past which offered tutorials in the tech space and I liked that I could try many different things and pay one price. I also liked that I could take them over and over again until I “got” it. Being a designer, I started to think about what that would look like, if I created a site for someone like me, with a hectic schedule and a wide interest in art in all forms. After meeting with friends and bloggers, I felt confident there was a market for this. I was buzzing with energy when I met my friend Sam, for tea. He was a web designer/developer and decided he would help me with the project as long as we were giving back to non-profit art programs. The idea took so many twists and turns – from having it be user generated to just being an app – and then we started to see the site come together and evolve into a more mature design.

Creativebug – the story of a creative startup from Creativebug on Vimeo.

How did you take your idea from a dream to a reality?

Those initial planning days of the business were crazy, and I was working 24/7. I’d go to work, come home and hang out with my kids for two hours, say hi to my husband and then get back to work. In order to raise money to launch the business, we shot a pilot video of a friend that was a painter, and got ready to pitch to a room full of financiers. I looked around the room and told the investors, “If you watch this video, and afterwards, you feel like you want to paint or do anything creative, I’ve done my job.” They gave me the money. There was no turning back.

On December 20, 2011, I resigned from my publishing job, and on January 9, we started filming for Creativebug, with the intent of launching with 50 workshops. We launched with 60.

The launch itself was really difficult. I was out most nights until 11:30pm talking business. We might as well have moved our beds into the studio—it was insane. And then we had to work out some kinks in the website, like streamlining the signup process, etc. We learned that the summer is a slow time for crafting since kids are out of school and it was almost a blessing in disguise since we were still feeling our way through this new and exciting adventure.

Rad Megan on Creativebug Creativebug instructor Rad Megan

What is unique about Creativebug and your instructors?

The subscription model introduces all of our instructors to fans of our other instructors. For instance, someone may come to find us because they are really inspired by one of our instructors, and come to find out that they really love another artist’s work as well. I loved that crossover and process of discovery for our users. It’s the idea that we’re stronger together than we are individually. We are committed to proving that that is true, even if it takes time! For those who want to take us for a test drive without the commitment, we just launched an a la carte offering on some of our workshops. This allows you to purchase a single class and watch it anytime, without expiring.

We release two new workshops each week, filmed either in our studios here in San Francisco or on location in our instructor’s environment. The entire crew flew for a week out to Nashville to film Anna Maria Horner, and then again to Northern Alabama for the Alabama Chanin shoot, because we really wanted to film those workshops and tell their stories in an authentic way.  We have quite a few amazing instructors in New York as well, like Liesl Gibson, Heather Ross, Gretchen Hirsch, Debbie Stoller, Melanie Falick and Rebecca Ringquist.

Alabama Chanin T-shirt Creativebug Alabama Chanin Ruffle T-shirt class at Creativebug

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

They often say that if you’re the CEO of the company, you’ll take out the trash. That’s absolutely true. Though we did get a new intern who just washed the dishes and I almost cried (thanks Matt!).

What’s the best thing about your job?

People who believe in what you’re doing. In the first 6 months, there were days where I’d wake up in the morning, and the first thought in my head was ” WHAT did I do?!! I gave up a perfectly good job which is like laying on the beach compared to this. It’s too hard. Rewind! ” And then you capture an artist’s story and seeing their passion for what they do gets infused in you and it’s a tremendous gift to witness that. Their stories are so incredibly inspiring. This has been the most fulfilling job of my life, on so many levels.

One of our teachers Rebecca Ringquist said she was determined to have her embroidery hanging in museums (and it is!). We heard from many female crafters/designers speak about how the art we create may have been born of a domestic need, but the time has come for people to recognize that it is true art and innovation in it’s purest form. So many of our instructors have dedicated decades to honing their skills and building their brands. Having them on Creativebug is a responsibility we carry with us every day and something that gives us great honor.

Follow Jeanne Lewis @foundermom and get the latest Creativebug news @creativebug.

Coupon Code!

If you are itching to try Creativebug for yourself, you can join today for $10 off with the discount code CRAFTBUDS. Isn’t that fun?!

The unlimited membership includes access to all Creativebug workshops for as low as $16.99 per month, and single workshops can be purchased a la carte. There are also lots of free mini workshops you can enjoy if you’re not quite ready to start your membership yet.

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